Happy Halloween!! I love this holiday, as it incorporates all my favourite things; food, dressing up and being a bit pratty. OK, so there’s not as much food as Christmas, but it’s still a bit of fun, and as such I thought I’d show you my top five favourite short stories and novellas to scare any bookworm. I already had a look at the best horror stories last year, so this year I thought I’d try something a bit different. I hope you like it and encounter an old favourite or find something new to try!
5. The Thirty Nine Steps: OK OK, I know that this isn’t technically a scary story, but it is a really awesome novella, and what’s more scary than having your whole life turned upside down? A thrilling spy story, if you’re looking for something that’s thrilling in a different way this Halloween, or you’re too scardie to try out anything truly frightening, then give this a go and you will not be disappointed.
4. The Withered Arm: I’ve been a fan of Thomas Hardy’s work for a long time, particularly his less renowned short stories, such as this creepy tale of a woman whose arms begins to bruise and become disfigured following the discovery of a secret about her new marriage. She is advised of a strange and vaguely sinister cure which leads her to her spectacular downfall.
3. The Boogeyman: As you may have noticed from my recent post, I am a big fan of Stephen King and his work. Whilst everyone tends to focus on his novels or the stories that have been adapted into successful films or TV shows, there are some truly great short works that have gone neglected, which deserve more credit than they get. The Boogeyman, the story of a man whose family is plagued by a mysterious, terrifying, child killing creature that haunts them even as they travel the country, is definitely one of them, and is the ideal tale to scare you witless this Halloween.
2. The Raven: Every year, at Halloween, I re-read Edgar Allan Poe’s narrative poem about a man being terrorised by a mysterious bird. Psychologically this creepy poem is brilliant, and the atmospheric description invokes a feeling of pure terror, as the reader and the protagonist are both engaged in a battle of wits with the raven, which draws the narrator slowly into madness. Intelligent, witty, and stunningly crafted, this is perfect for creeping you out and making you think on the scariest day of the year.
1. The Aspern Papers / The Turning of the Screw: I was completely unable to pick which of these two excellent Henry James stories should be top, so I chose both! My edition contains both and each is not particularly long so it’s easy to devour them both quickly and they make for great scary bedtime stories. James is excellent at imbibing even short descriptive paragraphs with real horror, and as such these are really condensed frightens that wills stay with you for years to come.